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Japanese Stories

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In the early 1970s, a series of Sesame Street sketches aired, telling stories from ancient Japan. Relying on traditional Japanese music, punctuated by a ringing gong, the tales were told by a stoic, seated storyteller. Recurring characters within these stories included The Emperor of Japan and The Evil Prime Minister.


Individual sketches

Picture Title Earliest Known Appearance Description
4dragons
The Mystery of the Four Dragons
Episode 0299
An aged emperor offers the throne to his son if he can find four dragons hidden in the room before midnight. The Evil Prime Minister thinks that the prince will never find the dragons in time. The prince defies expectations and succeeds.


Online: Sesamestreet.org (SSvideo)

Unhappyempire
The Unhappy Empire
Episode 0346
Japan is being victimized by the evil Prime Minister (who is acting as sovereign since the empire lacks an emperor), who boasts that he will relinquish his post to anyone who shows him something unique. Villagers bring flowers, fans, and hats, identical to those owned by the minister, but a young girl is able to prove that she herself is different from anything else.
Emperorsnewgong
The Emperor's New Gong
Episode 0410
The Emperor is dissatisfied with the sound his gong makes. He calls the imperial gong delivery man, who presents different gongs for his approval. They're either too loud or too soft, however, until the imperial gong delivery man uses his own head as a gong.

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